The NEHS Chapter Spotlight project shares examples of outstanding literacy work being undertaken by chapters around the world. Categories for submission are Academic Focus; Community Engagement; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and Collaborative Projects. In this edition, the Mildred L. Shuford NEHS Chapter at Socastee High School in Myrtle Beach, SC, shares details about several of their chapter initiatives. Submissions for Chapter Spotlights will be open December 11, 2023 through January 8, 2024.
The NEHS Freedom Reader Book Drive
From late November 2022 through early January 2023, the Socastee High School chapter of the National English Honor Society organized their yearly book drive. Members of NEHS spent one afternoon after school decorating boxes for each department within our school and boxes for our local libraries. Once the boxes were placed throughout the school and libraries, our community had a little over a month to donate books. There was even a small competition around the school, as the department that donated the most books received a dozen free donuts. Once the boxes were collected, NEHS members organized the books and donated them to Freedom Readers, a non-profit organization that helps to improve the reading skills of children in low-income communities. We also donated $300 so Freedom Readers could purchase children’s books targeting social concerns in their specific community. Overall, our book drive was extremely successful and will help many children in their journey to explore the world of literature and English language arts.
Open Mic Night
In January of 2023, the Socastee High chapter put on an Open Mic Night with some help from the International Thespian Society (ITS). Socastee students and teachers were encouraged to sign up and present their favorite works, whether through song, spoken word, or playing an instrument. In addition to being an amazing display of talent, the Open Mic Night was an opportunity to appreciate literature and culture, as it had poetry, drama, music, and more. The event even saw a brush with the visual arts, as audience members sat at tables covered in paper and used markers and pens to get their own creative juices flowing. Finally, to add to the coffee-house ambiance, pastries, coffee, and hot chocolate were available for purchase, and all proceeds went toward the two societies. The Open Mic Night was a hit among performers and audience alike. Even the NEHS and ITS members who were running the event enjoyed the camaraderie and fresh talent, and had an amazing time as well. We are striving to ensure Open Mic Night becomes an annual tradition.
Since our inception (other than during Covid times), our NEHS chapter has invited students from local elementary schools, family, friends, and the community to attend a Read Across America Celebration to encourage a love of reading while honoring the works of Dr. Seuss. This year, we changed the name of the event to a Seuss-A-Bration when we hosted the event at the Barnes and Noble located in Market Common.
Throughout the 2-hour Seuss-A-Bration, children were able to interact with characters (NEHS members in full costume) and participate in a variety of read aloud sessions. Everyone really enjoyed this as the readings were interactive and children were able to select a favorite Seuss reading. One member read while a few characters from whichever book was being read dramatized the story. It was such fun some of the seniors asked if participating next year was an option
After engaging with Seuss stories, the children also enjoyed several free Seuss activity stations. Making a hat like the classic red and white Cat-in-the-Hat’s was a hit. We offered the templates, crayons, and tape, and the children did the rest. They then headed over to the puppet making station to create a cute puppet of the Lorax. Children also tried their hand at coloring Seuss characters and big Seuss quote pages. I am not quite sure who enjoyed coloring the most, the visitors or our members! In between the sessions, children had their faces painted with Seuss characters and bookish items. Children who decided not to attend stations stayed to listen to additional stories.
To top off the morning, each participant received a free Seuss goodie bag with Seuss pencils and paper, erasers, stickers, and such. There was something for everyone, and everything was hassle free.
NEHS encourages chapters to participate in the Chapter Spotlight opportunity, sharing outstanding literacy work being done at the chapter level across the society. Chapters are asked to send information and documentation in any of the categories listed below. The NEHS Advisory Council will select the best of the submissions as “spotlight” chapters that will be recognized through NEHS social media outlets and the NEHS Museletter blog; selected chapters will receive a $50 award and a certificate.
All chapters submitting documentation of their excellent work automatically become eligible for the Outstanding Chapter Award presented in the spring. Chapters are limited to three submissions in a year, and each submission should be from a different category. Chapters must submit evidence of their work by attaching documents, including pictures and/or videos, to the submission form. Submissions may only be made during designated periods throughout the year (see schedule below). Only active chapters may send submissions; inactive or suspended chapters must become current with fee payments and members enrollments before submitting projects. Members of the NEHS Advisory Council will review submissions and select the “spotlight” chapters.
1. Academic Focus
This category will demonstrate how a chapter works to establish or maintain a project focused on supporting the academic growth of a target audience within their school or local community.
2. Community Engagement
The purpose of this category is to demonstrate how NEHS chapters are focused on promoting life-long learning and the celebration of reading, writing, film, and the arts in their local community.
3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
This category will demonstrate how NEHS chapters are promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in various forms within their school or local community.
4. Collaborative Projects
The purpose of this category is to demonstrate how NEHS chapters are working with other NEHS chapters, other high school Honor Societies, or Sigma Tau Delta and Sigma Kappa Delta chapters on collaborative projects impacting their school or local community.
Applications for the winger 2023-2024 Chapter Spotlight cycle will be accepted December 11, 2023 through January 8, 2024, with acceptances announced February 29.
Learn more about contributing a Chapter Spotlight!